She Hid from the Secret, Then Had to See: Homosexuality Didn't Destroy My Marriage and Tear My Family Apart; Hiding from It Did
Turpin, Barbara M., National Catholic Reporter
My favorite Bible story is that of Jesus standing between the adulteress and the men with stones in their hands, daring them to cast the first one. It reminds me that we are called to judge the sin but never the sinner.
Unfortunately, when it comes to the topic of homosexuality, many Christians forget this story. Laboring under the delusion that homosexuality poses some kind of massive. e threat to the family, they take a harsh and often paranoid stance against it, as if toleration of it will somehow or other lead to the demise of life as we know it on this planet.
Despite the biblical imperative, this stance against homosexuality often gets translated into punitive and discriminatory treatment of homosexuals. Paradoxically, the effect of such abusive treatment is not to eradicate homosexuality but to drive homosexuals to seek refuge from fear and violence m the heart of the very institution Christians wish to preserve from them -- marriage and the family.
As a result, there are 2 million marriages this country in which one partner is gay. Mine was one of them.
I say was because my husband died five ago -- not of AIDS but at the hands. We never divorced because we never saw a reason to. Unable to confront the truth about who he was, we both lived in denial, trying to preserve our illusion of a happy family. For 15 years we played a game of pretend. Had he not died; I fear I'd be playing it wasn't until after he died that I realized how much the game had cost us.
In the emergency room of the hospital, for example, within an hour of his death, I'd earned that lied lied to me about where he was going that night and that he'd been killed walking out of a gay bar with his lover. Within 24 hours, I'd learned that I was not the primary beneficiary of our life insurance policy. By the end of the week, I'd learned that he had maintained a joint bank account, joint credit cards and a joint post office box with his lover, that he had forged my signature on bank loans to pay for his lover's new car and his college tuition, that he had supported him over the previous four years to the tune of more than $100,000, and that he'd been fired from his job a few months previously, not because his company was "downsizing," as he'd told me, but because he had embezzled company funds to support his partner.
Totally numb, I felt like a boxer who'd been sucker-punched in the ring. How could this have happened? I asked-myself. How could I not have known about any of this? After a good deal of reflection, I was forced to admit that on some level I did know -- not about what he had done but about who he was. Or at least I'd suspected it.
At the time, homosexuality was an unspeakable crime to me. How could someone I loved and lived with for so long be gay? And most important, if he were gay, what did this say about me? For all these reasons, I couldn't speak.
My silence was reinforced, my denial further entrenched by other, although not unrelated, issues: his descent into alcoholism and his increasingly violent behavior. Even if I could have admitted to myself that he was gay, I couldn't have confronted him because I was, quite simply afraid of him. As a Catholic, I took the prohibition against divorce seriously. Paralyzed and afraid, all I could do was pay for deliverance -- for his death.
Not all homosexuals are alcoholic. Not all homosexuals are violent. But in order for them to live with some sense of integrity, all must overcome a terrifying fear of abandonment; they must emerge from hiding.
In his 20s, he had only a dim awareness of his homosexuality, the fear of which, he wrote in a diary I found after his death, forced him to seek sanctuary in marriage so that he could prove to himself and to the rest of the world that he was not who he really was. As time went on and the dim awarenesss became a sharp certainty, he was faced with an agonizing choice between his identity and his integrity on the one hand and his family on the other. …